It wouldn’t be a Goddess Gallery without our girl Shellie White Light! She’s a true testament to the healing power of transformational festivals – having come from a down and out life of trouble on the street to festival – she was deeply impacted and turned her life around – and now, 100 lbs lighter and radiantly alive, she teaches healthful livingt. Check out this interview that she did for the 2014 Festival Guide:
[see full gallery The Goddess In Her Glory on Facebook]
Shellie White Light is a hoop dance extraordinaire-educator-performer, massage therapist, Qi Gong & Breath Work instructor and festival fairy. She teaches an integration of these passions through her company HoopLightenment.
My first festival was actually on my 25th birthday in 2009, in Florida. I went to Bear Creek Music Festival and honestly it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I went with my friend Abby, as a performer in her hoop troupe, the Hoola Monsters. It was my first music festival.
FF – You were already hooping?
I was, I started hooping in 2008, specifically it was June 22nd, 2008, Summer Solstice. It was at a Solstice gathering and I had just bowed my head in prayer and said, “What is my purpose? It’s Solstice, what am I meant to be doing?” Then I opened my eyes and saw a beautiful woman, her name is Marguerite Barnett, and she walked out into the middle of a labyrinth that we were all sitting in, she was wearing all white and had a beautiful, huge hoop with wicks on it – it was a fire hoop. She lit the wicks from a candle in the middle of the labyrinth and began doing an amazing sacred dance.
I just started emoting! Tears were streaming down my face as I realized that that was the answer to my prayer. “You’re a sacred hoop dancer.” So I went home that night and googled fire hoop dance, but I figured I should get a regular hula hoop and practice with that before lighting one on fire. I ordered one from Christabel Zamor at HoopGirl.com, and a dvd called “Hoop Dance for Beginners” and watched it every single day for 8 months in my living room.
I remember watching Christabel in the video and wanting to be that hoop goddess, as beautiful as she was in the jungles hooping. Exactly three years later I ended up meeting her. I’d already been to Maui and lived in Hawaii, had all these amazing experiences. I said, “Thank you for guiding me on my hoop journey, I just wanted to be a jungle goddess hooping and that’s exactly what I ended up being.” And she said, “That dvd was filmed on Maui.” So I watched her everyday and ended up manifesting exactly what I saw.
I’m now in reverence to the hoop, it literally leads me all over the world. It’s the sacred circle, it guides me, it led me to the festival scene and it led me to fire hooping, performing and being able to teach little kids and adults how to hula hoop.
FF – And in just 3 years you have devoted your entire life to hooping at festivals?
It’s true. I go to a lot of festivals but I also go to many different gatherings and organized events, I’m in a few different worlds. I go to a couple of the festivals on the west coast, and some in Hawaii, like Source, which is Maui’s regional burn and Mystic Island Festival and then of course, Beloved, in Oregon. A lot of my gatherings are the hoop gatherings. I do massage, I’m a licensed neuromuscular, intuitive, emotional release body worker. When I go to the hoop gatherings, I bring a massage table and offer massage, which is how I make a lot of my income, that’s how I get around. I offer hoopers massage and then I teach massage at those festivals and gatherings as well. And I also get paid to perform at different festivals. It’s been beautiful.
The farthest I’ve gone to perform is Australia to Rainbow Serpent Festival and Eclipse 2012. Those were some amazing times out in Australia – that’s a whole other story! Australia was the only place that you could see the total solar Eclipse in 2012 from land, and the gathering went for a week. I was so blessed to be able to perform there and teach there, and also it was a real blessing to connect with the indigenous people of that land. Very beautiful. And that led me to Rainbow Serpent. The woman who booked me for Eclipse saw me perform to Aloha Ke Akua by Nahko Bear. She told me Nahko and Medicine for the People would be at Rainbow Serpent Festival and she asked me to perform on stage with them, which was a dream come true. Nahko is a very powerful messenger and musician, and I’m very happy to have him as an acquaintance and friend and brother. That whole experience was really special.
FF – I’ve been seeing you post on Facebook about Chi a lot – tell me about that?
That’s been one of the larger parts of my travel over the last 5 years. All at the same time, hoop dancing, hot yoga, and Qi Gong came into my life. The Chi that I’ve been talking about is Qi Gong. I have been traveling with the Supreme Science Foundation and the man who started it, Jeff Primack. The land that my partner and I are currently caretaking on Big Island is his Qi Gong Retreat Center.
When I first took his 4 day seminar, Qi Revolution I went because as a massage therapist I needed continuing education units. I had never done psychedelics or anything like that, but at that seminar, when he taught us the breathwork, called the 9 breath method, I had a life changing experience. I experienced what felt like total body vibration, colors, visions, Oneness. There were 2500 people there and we were all holding hands and praying. He would say a prayer for humanity, and then we would all breathe together and create a light pillar and shoot it to the atmosphere. It was the first experience I had that I thought, “this must be what everybody on psychedelics is talking about.” I became one with the universe, the universe became one with me, every single cell of my being became vivid. I saw a redwood tree forest become an old man dying to twin babies being born to watching a rose unfold to being a rainstorm. I started experiencing every aspect of life all simultaneously, I experienced myself as everything. I felt an immense, indescribable amount of love and understanding wash over me. In that moment I thought, “I have met God, and God is within me.” This breathwork now continually takes me there. It’s really all about the breath. I want to encourage everyone to know that you can ‘get there ‘just by tuning into the breath and your heartbeat.
That experience brought me back to that event the next year and then I ended up being hired to travel with them and help put the event on. I became a certified Qi Gong instructor and breathwork instructor, so I have been traveling with the Qi Revolution all over the country. We travel to about a dozen cities each year, teaching and sharing Qi Gong and I love to hoop and teach hoop while I’m there. The Hoop Gong and the Qi Gong are one in the same.
A lot of people show up to that event and they have never experienced anything like that. So, I’m really happy to be there to hold space. I love to support people while they’re on their journey, of…cracking open, Awake for the first time. Teaching people the breathwork is as rewarding to me as sharing the hoop, or sharing about healing foods.
Healing foods is the other aspect that I learned in that seminar. I was already pretty in touch nutritionally at that point because I had healed myself with foods. I used to be 170 lbs.
FF – Tiny little you? I can’t imagine!
Oh my God, I had a different life. I was a South Carolina girl, party girl, going to college, eating a bunch of fried chicken and biscuits and gravy, casseroles and just being a crazy rebellious preachers daughter. I’ve come a long way. So, as a result, sharing about food is a huge passion for me. Now I’m always looking to refine my intake, how I’m treating the earth, and how I’m allowing the earth to treat me. Realizing which of her medicine is right for me, and which of her medicine isn’t right for me.
HoopLightenment™, my company, is all about integrative wellbeing. If you want to be a good hoop dancer, you have to be eating good food because, (well I suppose you could be an amazing dancer on twinkies, but I’ve never seen it) it comes down to what we’re eating and what we’re thinking, and how we’re breathing.
Eating as close to the earth as possible. Understanding where your food comes from, from seed and soil to table. Who is growing your food? Are YOU growing your food? Have you ever grown your food? Do your children know what a meal looks like that didn’t come from a box or a can? I was fed cinnamon rolls out of cans when I was a little kid every day for breakfast, and pizza out of boxes and fast food out of bags. And I was sick.
FF -170 lbs!
Exactly. So here are the basics for me. I realized that I needed to understand what was going on with my body. I just allowed myself to let certain things fall away. All in one fell swoop I quit drinking alcohol, quit eating meat and became a vegetarian for a couple of years, quit smoking cigarettes, quit taking all of my prescription drugs, starting eating all organic as much as possible, started blessing my food. Every single thing I ate, I blessed it and thanked it,
And then I started thanking my body – “Thank you body for knowing what to do with this food.” And then I started thanking Great Spirit for turning it back into light. “Thank you food for being the light, thank you body for transmuting the light, and thank you Great Spirit for shining the light back out through me.”
Basically I just cut out all processed foods. With that right there, I lost about 35 lbs in two months. I was also in massage school at that time, after I had dropped out of college. By my second year in college, I was 170 lbs, skipping most of my classes and had been diagnosed biopolar type 2 manic depressive with suicidal tendencies. I was on all these different medications – a mood stabilizer, an anti-depressant, pain medications, sleeping pills, all kinds of stuff. When I was 19, I was struck by an oncoming vehicle that was going 35 mph and I had what some people would call a near death experience. There was also a point that same year, when I had overdosed on cocaine and felt myself leave my body at that point too. Both of those times I actually saw police officers calling my mother and having to tell her that her daughter had been hit by a car, or her daughter had died of a drug overdose, and I saw how that totally changed my parents life – sent them on a spiraling path of sadness and depression. Both those times, separately, when I had those near death experiences, suddenly my love for my mother and my highest self that knew that I had something to share with the world broke back through and I came back into my body.
So after that I decided that I needed to begin to change my life. I was obviously on a really bad path. Both of my grandfathers, my father and my great grandfather were all Southern Baptist ministers, (four fathers!) so I was just convinced that I had to rebel as hard as I possibly could, which led me into a really dark space.
I literally snapped out of it one morning, after the two crises which happened within 2 weeks of each other. The first one was me just being out way too late partying way too hard, letting people convince me that it was okay to put white stuff up my nose. The second was me being out drunk in the street and I got hit by a car. Then about two or three months after that, I went into work, saw a map on the wall. I walked over to the map and closed my eyes and pointed to a random location and it was Sarasota Florida. So I googled Sarasota and up popped an ad that said, “Become a massage therapist. Help people while making money!”.
So I just quit everything in one fell swoop, cleaned up and went to massage school in Sarasota. Massage led me to Qi Gong, which led me to more understanding about food healing. Yoga and the hoop came into my life. The hoop has been the center point, it has helped me integrate everything, it integrates the breath, it integrates the Qi Gong (Chi Kung), it integrates my love of performing, it integrates my platform for speaking on the physical health we need to have if we want to be creative geniuses. If you want to be a visionary, you have to have clear vision, which you can’t have if its clouded because your sugar levels are going crazy from what you’re eating. We have no idea how resilient our beautiful machines are, our bodies. I’m so grateful for my body!
FF – What is your diet like now?
My diet is mostly organic fresh vegetables and I do eat some meat, I eat a lot of salads and a lot of cooked curries. Right now I’m staying away from grains, because I am regulating the candida in my system, so I’m specifying my diet even more. In the meantime I eat greens, and a little fruit, I love smoothies in the morning – with beets and apples and spirulina and I love my fermented, sprouted, brown rice protein powder. I love making soups. Also, Raw cacao is a favorite.
Lots of superfoods and herbs and spices. Lots of clean water. It fuels me forward.
FF – Tell me about the Hoop.
The hoop is my favorite thing to talk about. For me the hoop is a representation of the Oneness. I believe I am the happiest when I am fully engaged in a beautiful song, moving my body in super fit ways, expressing the pure love that’s coming through me, radiating out for everyone to see. For me the hoop and the festival scene go hand in hand.
Hoopers at festivals bring so much love and light to everyone around them, because what I experience when I’m hooping with others, is I see people go into a space of vulnerability, and child-like awe. Whether they are hoop dancing themselves, or watching. On a really deep level, when I hula hoop I am using the hoops to expand my toroidal field created by the electromagnetics of my heart. My field expands even greater and it becomes profound. People watching can feel what’s happening. I’m using the hoops to make sacred shapes, and they may not realize what they‘re seeing but these sacred shapes have information that is beyond words, because it’s what we are made of. We are made of light and sound and whenever those two things meet we get shapes. That’s how we experience life.
I use a lot of sacred geomentry in my dance and people can feel it. For me, I’m activating my light body and it puts me into my Merkaba – or my Merkabic Vessel, which is our tetrahedronal light body, a double star tetrahedron. I feel at times that I am quantum leaped when I’m hooping.
My goal with the hoop is to activate the love that propels our light bodies to ignite, so that we can become eternal beings of love. There’s something in the combination of spinning and joy and sacred shapes and music – that does something to me and everyone around me. Even when I’m in other people’s field…do you know Vivian Spiral? She was the first person I saw create that field. When I was watching Spiral hoop dance I was moved into the deepest joy that I could experience in my heart. I wanted everyone to feel what I was feeling, watching her.
My whole prayer around Hula Hooping, I call it Sacred Hoop Dance, is to create sacred gatherings around the sacred hoop. I also want to say that the Native American hoop dance has greatly inspired me. It’s their dancing prayer. I am working to bring a Native teacher to teach the modern hoop dancers about the ancient sacred hoop and the medicine wheel.
The Earth aspect of the hoop is that it is the four directions. It’s a portal to everything on this planet. It’s the seasons, it’s the cycles, it’s the sacred hoop of life, it’s the medicine wheel. I am also part Cherokee, and this is very valuable to me. I feel that this is my red heritage coming through me in a white body. I’m here to be a world bridger between the modern hoop dance world and the ancient hoop dance world.
The hoop has smoothed out my rough edges. It has refined me. Diamonds are formed by really intense pressure, but river rocks are smoothed by gentle running water. It’s been both to me. The hoop is such a graceful teacher. It’s the shape of the universe, I see God in it. It’s how God has chosen to express itself through me, in a potent form. It has been the key element in my healing.
FF – When you come to festival, you come as a hoop performer and teacher of adults and kids?
Yes, I teach children and adults and perform at festivals and it’s my most favorite gig in the whole world, I love it more than anything. I love how it brings everyone together. I love teaching the kids, and then connecting with the parents, then teaching the parents and giving them a common element to share together – it’s a fun activity for families – to all hoop together.
As for the performance aspect, that’s the nectar in my life. Whenever I’m on stage I get to put my magic to music. That’s why I feel the festivals have benefited so much from hoop dance. They are listening to amazing music while watching sacred images before their eyes that enhances the message. It creates an enchanting atmosphere that all of a sudden becomes multi-dimensional. There’s sound and dance and sacred geometry with LED lights and fire and costumes and human interaction.
Hooping is a huge part of the festival scene. I come across so many amazing hoop dancers at festivals. Hoopers are the most amazing people, they are so fun! Everyone trusts the girl with a hula hoop. If there’s a little kid and somebody wants to hoop with them, everybody feels safe about that. It’s a circle of love.
The festival community is itself an embodiment of the hoop, it’s a sacred medicine wheel. Hoop dance would be different without the festival community, we are deeply integrated with each other.
S – Hooping is a fairly new movement, isn’t it?
Hooping as a community, as a culture is growing rapidly right now. I’ve been hooping for just over 5 years and when I began with Hoola Monsters, there were only a couple of websites. Now, most states have a decent hoop community. There are a lot of hoop communities sprouting up all around the world: the UK, Australia, Japan, Ireland, South America. There are lots of new hoop gatherings popping up too. Every time I go to a hoop gathering there are more and more international people. You Tube has had a big part in the spreading of hoop dance because people began posting their hoop videos, and they went viral. We are coming on strong right now. If it keeps growing this fast, hoop dance will be sought after like yoga. I would like to see hopping in every gym, in every school…
I’m also working on creating HoopLightenment™ after school programs. I’d like to see it in orphanages and children’s homes. It’s even helped kids with Autism.
So many people talk about how they’ve been healing themselves with the hoop. Its become a fully appreciated form of integrated fitness. It’s coming into the fitness world as more than just for losing weight. People are losing weight and getting off their depression medication. Others lose weight and are able to quit cigarettes. Or they lose weight and start loving themselves ten thousand percent more!
The key word here is Flow. There’s something about hooping that puts hoopers into what we call a Flow, where you just start moving with the hoop and you let the hoop lead you. The way that one of my teachers, Jonathan Baxter of hooppath.com phrases it is, “You have a rhythm, the hoop has a rhythm and then there’s the third rhythm. When you can tap into that third rhythm and lose your mind, get into your body, You just start moving with the hoop and the rhythmic rotation of it around your body, Letting the hoop fluidly float around your body creates a beautiful dance.” If it’s an LED hoop it also projects light colors and light therapy. Fire hooping is so empowering because you are paying homage to the elements. You are saying thank you to the fire.
Whether I’m hooping with a hula hoop or with LED lights or fire, it’s one of the most empowering experiences I’ve found. The hoop has unlocked me and I’ve watched it unlock lots of other people. Once people start getting into their Flow with the hoop, they realize it’s transferable. Once I got into the flow with hooping, I realized I could get into the flow with singing, with cooking, with dancing without a hoop, with my writing, love making, breathwork. All of sudden when I unlocked the concept of Flow through the hoop, Flow became my mantra. I realized I could achieve that doing anything. It’s led me to a peaceful state of mind.
We have a phrase in the hoop community, who are your hoop parents? Who taught you to hoop? I’ve had the honor of being a hoop mother to many. And one of my hoop friends, that I taught to hoop, Sarah Psyche, has a great little website called “Hoop Inspiration”. I remember when I first taught her to hoop she was still smoking, she’s be hooping with her right hand and smoking with her left hand. And I’d say, “Can you show me what you’ve got with your left hand, what can you show me?” (with the hoop). So she’d put down the cigarette to show me what she could do with her left hand. I encouraged her to hoop with both hands and in about 3 months she had quit smoking. Then right after she quit smoking she got pregnant and now has a beautiful baby boy.
I’ve seen the hoop help people conceive who haven’t been able to. I’ve taught them a meditation with their sacral chakra, to bring energy into their creative womb, and I’ve watched people shortly after that get pregnant. I tell people if you want to begin a hoop practice, start with one song a day. Then work it up to a whole album, or your favorite play list.
One good friend of mine in Florida was about 300 lbs. I made her an extra large hoop and she lost 100 lbs through hooping. I’ve helped people use the hoop to overcome their intense belief systems that they had about themselves, like “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good enough for that”. I’ve watched people overcome weight issues, self esteem issues, even prosperity – I’ve seen people change their lives and start successful businesses.
Hooping changes people’s lives. Its not just about putting the hoop around your body and doing some tricks. It’s like they become more of themselves. The hoop tears away the layers of you that you just don’t need. It just wears them off. Before you know it you’re a new, amazing, beautiful, fresh being. You’ve got so many creative aspects inside of you just waiting to come out.
What is HoopLightenment™ ?
Shellie White Light’s newest project, HoopLightenment is a Hoop Dance Meditation & Fitness Cirriculum; infusing Sacred Hoop Dance, Qi Gong, Breath Techniques & Storytelling.
Through HoopLightenment Shellie offers Festival & Stage Performance, Workshops, Classes, and Spiritual Stand-Up Comedy Style Emcee Entertainment.
The mission of HoopLightenment is to awaken the masses to the benefits of creative, meditative movement through hoop dance instruction and performance. Many are inspired by actually hooping, and many more are inspired by WATCHING this amazing art form. Hoop dance brings enlightenment to all who witness! The shapes, colors, spiraling movements, and physical energy used shifts the perception of those participating and observing. The HoopLightenment Curriculum™ focuses on the five elements of Sacred Hoop Dance™ Breath, Balance, Dynamic Movement, Focus & Flow. Instruction is centered on the foundation of these concepts, suitable for all stages of progress on the path. By honoring the wisdom of many different teachers & cultures, masters, sages, prophets and poets, Shellie holds a sacred space for each to enter into and embody HoopLightenment in their own unique way. Whether participating or observing the art of Sacred Hoop Dance, you are contributing to the collective HoopLightenment of human kind! The path is straight and narrow for some, but for those seeking HoopLightenment, the path is round and rhythmic. www.HoopLightenment.com
Show HoopLightenment some love on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hooplightenment.